With some kind of rhythmic accompaniment while exercising people typically perceive they are preforming better, but does music/beat ultimately play a role in the success of your exercise routine? The answer: maybe.
Because there are so many variables involved with the application of the music its difficult to definitively say yes. But researchers like Len Kravitz Ph.D., Porcai, Waterhouse and others have helped us narrow it down so we can try to use music more effectively while exercising. To summarize the vast books, articles, and publications I’ve come up with a few points that I feel are important conclusions to consider when deciding to Rock, get a book on tape, or embrace the silence.
First off rhythm, tempo, and genre play a huge roll in music selection and are all contingent on the populous exercising and the exertion of the excise being preformed. A fast beat for a slow exercise may increase your heart rate too much and keep it elevated too long if you are exercising for an extended amount of time. Therefor consider how different the music selection may be for a 20 something adult doing speed/LT training at their MHR of 180 beats per minute (Podrunner “Rapid Transit”) as opposed to a 65 year old marathon runner doing their “long run” at 110 BPM (Tim Renwick “Ghost Rider”).
It truly is mind over matter. The feelings and association that accompany the music can significantly increase (or potentially decrease) the motivation and pleasure experienced with that workout. So if the music meets the BPM of the exercise being preformed and fits the genre that the athlete described as enjoyable but they have negative feelings associated with the song being played it could ultimately have a negative impact on the success of the workout. And of course the reverse is also true.
As mentioned above you can select music to increase your workout enjoyment but you can also “tune out” the activity through music for uncomfortable or un-enjoyable exercises. So when your personal trainer has you doing sprints for the third time this month you can always rely on Sean Kingston’s “Me Love” to get you through. Or when your out on a long excursion you may consider an audio book that you have been dying to listen to (or read but you can’t seem to dedicate the time into doing so).
Find music that you like. Categorize it by BPM. Remind your trainer to tell you the cardiac zone to train in for each workout. Then have your music start working with you and for you. And if nothing works for you silence is obviously better than suffering through unhelpful tunes.